Donair Meat

Donair Meat
Donair Header

This recipe uses JAH Halifax Donair Spice to make the Halifax Donair Meat.

JAH Donair Meat Mix – Halifax Style

YES! Well, this has been a long time coming! I have been working on this off and on for a long time. I finally got it! And it’s beautiful.

The hardest part was the texture. I was so frustrated with this one. See if you search for a Donair Recipe online you get the standard recipe. Oregano, Onion, Garlic, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, some with flour, others with bread crumbs. Here’s the problem. Take a close look at the picture claiming to be the Donair. The meat is dry, crumbly, no stretch, and not pliable.

Well, it might suit the average home especially if you’re no longer living on the east coast. This is not good enough for me. I want authentic donair, just like home. This includes taste, texture, spicy kick, and appearance. OK, before I go on about the donair. Below is my recipe for how to use JAH Donair Spice to make your own at home. The leftover meat can be portioned and frozen for later use.

What is a Donair?

A Donair is a Spiced Ground Beef Mixture shaped into a Loaf and cooked on a vertical rotisserie (Doner). Shavings of meats are sliced off and served on Pita Bread (Lebanese) with Donair Sauce, Onions & Tomatoes.

Some people add in Mozzarella Cheese and Lettuce. However true enthusiasts would argue against Lettuce and Cheese. Just Pita Bread, Donair Meat, Donair Sauce, Onions & Tomatoes. These are wrapped up in Tin Foil and served.

All Beef Donair

Halifax Donair

  • Lebanese Pita Bread
  • Donair Sauce
  • Donair Meat
  • More Donair Sauce
  • Diced Onions & Tomatoes

Who Created the Donair

It was introduced to Halifax Nova Scotia in the early 1970s. After many attempts by Peter Gamoulakos to serve Gyros. He decided to switch from lamb to a spiced beef and tzatziki sauce to a sweet sauce he created. Even the term or word “Donair” is what Peter Gamoulakos called it.

It is this combination of a shaved seasoned meat that is dominant Onion & Garlic with a kick of heat served with that sweet Donair Sauce, that today is what is known as the Halifax Donair.

Donair Competition

Believe it or not, there are variations to this. From my understanding, there were also Lebanese immigrants competing for the Donair taste. While almost all of them originating from Halifax taste extremely close. There were from what I remember myself different variations. I remember some being darker or lighter than others, some spicier than others, even the texture was slightly different with some being steak-like and others being mushier, even the sweet sauce in some places was really thick and in others runny. While there were slight differences they pretty much tasted the same.

Everyone was trying to compete in the Donair Market. There were a few lawsuits, business shutdowns, arguments, and dissolved relationships, and different people claiming credit for the Halifax Donair when first being introduced. It has a long history before shaping into what we know today.

Even today there are different variations of Halifax Donair meat. The main key players in the donair industry for manufacturing the Donair meat are Mr. Donair, Johnny’s K, Tony’s Donair, and a few others as well as Kronos in the USA.

For ordering Donairs the biggest name is King of Donair (KOD). With other restaurants providing the Halifax Donair as well. Even restaurants claiming that they order the Halifax Donair meat from the main supplier have different variations of the meat. With some being darker or lighter than others, at different textures and heat levels.

Where to get Donair Meat

It is commonly sold in Pizza stores and now small kits that you can pick up at the grocery store. It can also be purchased at your local Cash & Carry outlet.

For all of those East Coasters that can’t quite get their hands on it and have resorted to making it themselves. JAH Original Halifax Style Donair mix. It is the best homemade version mix of a Halifax Style Donair.

All too well, I know the feeling. I left the East Coast to go to British Columbia and later moved to Ontario. While in BC I could not find a decent donair, not even at local Cash & Carry. The Halifax Donair Sauce was no wheres. So this is when I started trying to come up with a version like the Halifax Donair. It was only when I moved to Ontario that I finally got it and has been a long time in development.

This is a dish that is exclusively found only on the East Coast.

It is well known as being an excellent food for after the bars. Later it was sold Pizza Style as the Donair Pizza. It truly is a Maritime food.

What to look for in Donair Meat

Color of Donair Meat

The Color is tricky because it does vary not only from restaurant to restaurant but even batches. You are looking for brown color (Brown/Tan – Grayish or with Mr. Donair a reddish tinge). The meat should not be dark brown at all. Mind you it does darken more when cooked longer, but still should not be a dark brown. It can also be a lighter color if the meat is mixed and can range in color from different types of beef.

Donair Meat Texture

It should be pliable and stretchy. Like shaved slivers of steak. It has fight when trying to pull it apart. If it crumbles or breaks when bending. It’s not authentic.

Amount of Heat in Donair Meat

It should be fairly spicy. Not overwhelming but on the tip. It should be difficult for you to decide if it’s too spicy or not. It should be a lingering heat that dissipates afterward. This of course varies from person to person, but in general, it should have a very noticeable heat.

Fat Content in Donair Meat

This is a greasy dish, it should extrude juice and grease when squeezed. If cooked in the pan you should see grease. When cooking in the oven it should have deposits of juice and fat droplets. If it looks dry. It’s not authentic.

What does a Donair Taste like

It is Onion & Garlic dominant along with other Herbs & Spices for supporting flavors and a good amount of Heat.

Served with a sweet sauce, called Donair Sauce, that offers the correct balance of sweet heat when combined with the donair.

Donair Recipes

A collection of all recipes related to Donairs.

Donair Egg Rolls

Donair Egg Rolls

Donair Egg Rolls! We’re talking Donair Meat stuffed inside Egg Roll wrappers with diced Onions & Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese with Donair Sauce and more Donair Sauce on the side for…

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Donair Pasta Bake

Donair Pasta Bake

Donair Pasta Bake made with Rotini Pasta, Donair Meat, Donair Sauce, and Cheese on top. It’s a simple dish made much like the Donair Poutine with Pasta used instead of Fries. Donair…

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Donair Crunchwrap

Donair Crunchwrap

OMG! These are a really nice treat! I love coming up with new ways to enjoy the classic Donair Meat & Sauce. The Donair Crunchwrap is built and assembled the same way…

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Inside Donair Dumplings

Donair Dumplings

Donair Dumplings, Pan-fried & Steamed or Deep Fried. These Spicy Little Nugget Appetizers are Absolutely Fantastic and that wonderful orange juice that seeps out, just too good. Dumpling Wrappers Use store-bought 3-inch…

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Donair Meatballs

Donair Meatballs

Homemade Halifax Style Donair Meatballs. Cooked on the Stovetop and served any way you’d like. This recipe yields about 20 good-sized spicy meatballs from 1 lb. Make up some Halifax Donair meatballs…

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Donair Rice

Donair Rice

Introducing Donair Rice! This is 1/2 lb of Sliced Donair Meat with Onions & Tomatoes cooked in a beefy broth and Basmati Rice, with Donair Sauce. The natural flavors of the Donair…

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Donair Salad

Donair Salad

We’re talking about a Salad with Tomatoes, Onions, Cucumbers, Lettuce and Nappa Cabbage tossed with Donair Salad Dressing & 1/2 lb of Sliced Donair meat. Optionally with Homemade Croutons and Cheese for…

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Donair Soup

Donair Soup

The Halifax Style Donair Soup perfect for the Fall and Winter Seasons. Nice Spicy Soup to warm you up. Everything that makes up a Donair is combined into a Soup except the…

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JAH Donair Kebab

Donair Kebabs

JAH Donair Kebabs made from Halifax Spiced Donair meat and shaped onto Hom Skewers. One pound of meat will give you 4 Kebabs which will cook up in about 10 minutes. This…

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Markouk Donair Half

Markouk Donair

Markouk or Markook Donair is a Halifax Style Donair topped with Halifax Donair Sauce, Diced Onion & Tomatoes. Wrapped in Markouk Saj Bread. It adds a Chewiness to the Donair and some…

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Cevapi are Finger size meatballs, well not meatballs but elongated pieces of meat about the size of a finger, more like a small sausage. The origins is quite complicated. From the best…

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Donair Samoon

Donair Samoon

A Donair Samoon is Halifax Seasoned Donair Meat & Sauce but delivered in Samoon Bread, topped with Diced Onions and Tomatoes. Optionally with added Lettuce & Cheese. The same as a Regular…

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Donair Calzone

Donair Calzone

Donair Calzone like a Donair Pizza but Folded in Half, prepped and cooked like just like a Pizza Calzone. Filled with thinly sliced Halifax Donair Meat, Donair Sauce, Diced Onions & Tomatoes…

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Donair Dog

Donair Dogs

For the Donair Dogs I’m bringing it back to its Roots. I’ve seen Donair Hot Dogs and Sausages and they can certainly be used here for Donair Dogs as well. For my…

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Donair Dip

Donair Dip

This is a Dip for Chips, using the Halifax Donair Meat to create a Donair Dip. You need to already have the Donair Sauce made up to create this dish, so head…

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Donair Burrito

Donair Burrito

Donair Burrito with Donair Sauce, Tomatoes & Onions. It’s the same as a donair except it’s wrapped in a Tortilla and Grilled. Or is it? Is a burrito wrapped in Pita Bread…

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Donair Burger

Donair Burger

The Donair Burger is another way to enjoy the classic Donair. Made with Toasted Garlic Buttered Buns filled with Donair Meat & Topped with Donair Sauce, Tomatoes and Onions. Optionally with Cheese….

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JAH Donair Oven Sub

Donair Oven Sub

Another way to enjoy the Classic Donair is by preparing it as a Donair Oven Sub. It’s an Oven Sub Brushed with Garlic Butter. Filled with Donair Meat and Donair Sauce topped…

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Donair Lahmacun with Homemade Pita Bread

Donair Lahmacun

Donair Lahmacun is another JAHZKICTHEN Originating Dish. Flat Bread Schmeared with a puree of Donair Meat. Cooked Stovetop or in the Oven. Top it off with some Diced Tomatoes & Onions with…

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Donair Pizza

Donair Pizza

What makes the Donair Pizza so good? Well for starters it’s the Spicy Seasoned Meat with that Sweet Sauce, that is just an awesome combination. But to combine this into a Pizza…

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Donair Platter Fork view

Donair Platter

The Donair Platter or Donair Poutine is Fries, sliced thin Donair Meat, Tomatoes & Onions with Donair Sauce and Cheese on top. Usually garnished off with more diced Tomato & Onions, sometimes…

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JAH Donair Plate

Donair Meat

This recipe uses JAH Halifax Donair Spice to make the Halifax Donair Meat. JAH Donair Meat Mix – Halifax Style YES! Well, this has been a long time coming! I have been…

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JAH Donair Samosas

Donair Samosa

Oh yes! I am taking full credit for this. I was so upset when pizza places came out with the donair egg roll, I know not quite the same but very close….

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Halifax Donair Sauce Ingredients

Donair Sauce

This is the tried and tested original Halifax Donair Sauce, originally created in Halifax by Peter Gamoulakos. I can taste no difference from what I remember growing up in Halifax, NS. The…

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Donair History

I won’t get into the history but instead direct you to excellent links on the History of Donairs. Check it out to get a full understanding.
History of the Donair Part 1
History of the Donair Part 2

My history of the donair as I can recall. I grew up in Halifax and was introduced to the donair early in my life. Eating it the first time, I wasn’t sure if I could handle the heat. I would take a bite and pause, waiting for it to get to the point that I couldn’t handle it. But it never did. It was spicy but not overwhelming at all. I felt great being able to handle something spicy. I was a kid, this was an achievement.

Now I am much older and always come back to it looking for that spicy kick and sweet sauce combination that just works so well. I also crave it when looking for a protein-packed meal just as bad as a juicy steak.

Much Love for the Halifax Donair. My desire is to have this available for everyone to make in their own home who have grown an attachment to the Halifax Donair and have a Love of their own for it.

Standard Donair Recipe

There are arguments on whether it is of Greek origin or Lebanese origin. You will find visiting different restaurants that there are subtle differences in what is claimed to be the Halifax Donair.

In general, what makes the Halifax Donair is the Spiced Ground Beef mainly dominant in Garlic & Onion with some Heat and supported by additional Herbs & Spices that support the flavor overall in combination with the Donair Sauce. Which is a Sweet Garlicky Sauce based on evaporated milk. It is served on Lebanese Flat Bread with Diced Onions & Tomatoes.

The Standard base Seasoning is 1 tsp each of the below ingredients per lb. of Ground Beef. With the exception of Cayenne Pepper. Which is 1/8 tsp and upwards. Some only use 1/2 tsp Garlic & Onion per 1 lb. of Beef. You can start with 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Onion & Garlic, and 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper and then up it based on your preference. Some use Italian Seasoning or Za’atar in place of Oregano or alongside Oregano. A lot of MSG is always added in restaurant versions.

  • Salt
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Paprika
  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper

Donair Meat always has some kind of Binder in it. In commercial grade Donair Meat this is usually Soy Protein, Soy Protein concentrate or Isolate and/or Wheat Crumbs. Sodium Phosphate is also used for Binding and to create a Juicier end product. For at home use add in 1 Tbl of Flour for Binding.

Binders in Donair Meat

The Binders seem to be different in various recipes. Bread Crumbs about 1/4 C per lb. of Meat or a couple of tsp Flour. There are a few other things that contribute to the Binding. Salt being one of them.

The original old style Donairs used Bread/Wheat crumbs.

Salt in Donair Meat

Salt also plays a major role in tightness if you see any recipes that require less than 1 tsp salt per lbs of meat. That’s not it. Salt contributes significantly to the binding of the meat.

This is also why you have to refrigerate the Donair Loaf to give it time for the salt to work and create tight bonds, resulting in tightly packed meat.

Fat in Donair Meat

Use medium ground meat preferably. Optionally add some lamb, about 10 – 20 % which will help with the binding and color as well. Additional fat can be added through Beef Suet, Lamb Fat, Soy Bean Oil, Sun Flower Oil, or other forms of Fat especially if using Lean Ground Beef. With the Medium Ground Beef, the fat is already there.

Donair Herbs & Spices

The above ingredients do well to get that donair flavor but there are more ingredients that give it that subtle flavor blend. Some sources state 20 ingredients, while others state 26 ingredients for the Original Halifax Donair.

If the Donair Spice is on the Herby side, that is not the Halifax Donair. The Original Halifax Donair contains very few Herbs.

Donair Ingredients

Below are various manufacturers of Donair meat and their Ingredient listing.

Kronos Ingredients


Mr Donair Ingredients


Bonte Donair Ingredients

Beef, water, soy protein, spice mix (monosodium glutamate, irradiated spices, onion powder, garlic powder), soy isolate, salt, potato starch.

Tony’s Donair Kit Ingredients

Water, Beef, Enriched White Flour, Onions, Tomatoes, Toasted Wheat Crumbs, Sugars (Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids, Dextrose) Vinegar, Milk And Modified Milk Ingredients, Salt, Yeast, Monosodium Glutamate, Spice, Yeast Extract, Modified Corn Starch, Potassium Chloride, Garlic Powder, Coconut Oil, Cellulose Gum, Calcium Propionate, Dehydrated Onion, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono – And Diglycerides, L-Cysteine (Microcrystalline Cellulose, L-Cysteine Monohydrochloride Anhydrous, Corn Starch), Phosphoric Acid. Contains: Wheat, Milk.

Jaco’s Donair from a Halifax Supplier

Halal Beef, Water, Soya Protein, Spice Mix(Monosodium Glutamate, Spices, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder), Soya Protein Isolate, Salt.

JAH Halifax Donair Spice

For Product Information check out JAH Halifax Donair Spice.

Here is a video on our Facebook page of the final product. Thinly Sliced Spicy Donair Meat. If you’re a Haligonian or Maritimer this will really get you going and it is exactly what you need for Homemade Donairs with Restaurant Quality no matter where you live.

JAH Donair Spice
JAH Donair Spice

Donair Meat

JAH Halifax Style Donair Meat inspired by the Halifax Donair. This is the standard heat if you want it Spicier you can add Black Pepper or Cayenne Pepper to your desired level.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian, Halifax Nova Scotia, Maritimer
Keyword: Donair, Halifax Donair, Nova Scotia Donair
Servings: 1 lbs
Author: JAH


  • Food Processor or Dough Mixer
  • Broiler Pan



  • For every 1 lb ( 454 g) of very Cold Medium or Lean Ground Beef mix with 3 Tbl JAH Donair Spice & 1 Tbl Cold Water in a Food Processor for about 2 minutes or in a dough mixer fitted with a paddle for 10 – 15 minutes until it turns to a paste. You can do this by hand, just be sure to get a paste-like consistency with the meat.
  • Place all of the meat onto a counter and flatten it out to get all the air out. Then form into Ball and throw it down on the counter a few times with force to further get trapped air out. Shape into an elongated loaf and wrap in saran wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, overnight is best.
  • Preheat oven to 300 F and place the Donair Meat on a Broiler Pan. Cook until internal temp of 160 F. Flip over halfway through. For 1 lb it is about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest. Reserve the grease that is in the pan, if any depending on your cut of meat, to fry the donair meat later.
  • Shave/Slice into very thin slices and heat Donair Meat in a frying pan over medium-high to max Heat with the Grease Drippings.


You can use 100 % Ground Beef or Cut the Meat Mixture with 10 – 20 % Lamb or Pork. 


  1. Wet your hands while handling the Raw meat for easier handling.
  2. Cut the loaf lengthwise into 1-inch strips and then slice thinly to get shaved donair meat like the restaurants.
  3. With Lean Ground Meat, you can add in about 80 g – 90 g of Beef or Lamb Fat. Freeze the fat and cut it into small pieces. Puree until in small pieces before adding in the Meat & Seasoning.
Whole Raw or Cooked Loaves can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Freshly Sliced Donair Meat can be portioned and frozen for 2 months after which the flavor and texture start to deteriorate.
Don’t leave the cooked sliced Donair meat out for too long uncovered. Since it is sliced thin it will dry out fast, especially if not coated in any Sauce or Liquid for moisture.
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